How to get the most out of your unwanted stuff!

This is the third and last of a series of articles I have written on decluttering. The first covered reasons to declutter and the second outlined barriers to decluttering and how to overcome them. This final one focuses on dealing with your unwanted stuff like the punctured deflated football pictured here with minimal negative impact upon the environment and maximum positive impact upon your finances.

I don’t know what your personal situation is, maybe you have been through a full scale declutter or maybe you are just getting rid of a one off item, however whatever the situation, it is worth taking a little time to think about how to dispose of your unwanted things.

Each item you no longer want will have a different type of value. Some may have sentimental value, some will have none. Some will be well used or even broken and some may be almost brand new. Most items are unlikely to fetch anywhere near enough to buy a new version of something similar, but the odd item may fetch more than a newer version would cost e.g. an antique.

You have a variety of options open to you as to what you could do with your stuff, but before you take up any of those options, consider which option will allow you to realise the worth of the item as far as possible.

Ok the options are:

  • Mend it! – a quick google will tell you how to mend most items if you don’t already know how and it can really prolong the useful life of your item.
  • Use it up! – if at one point you loved basmati rice, but have now decided Thai fragrant rice is the way to go, use up the basmati rice first!
  • Give it away! – this isn’t as simple as it sounds. There are various options when you are giving something away.
  • Sell it! There has been a massive rise in popularity in sites like Ebay and Amazon, but local sites and notice boards are just as good an option and may be easier in cases where the item is of small value but needs collecting.
    • You could give it directly (i.e. give it to someone who will use it) or indirectly to charity (i.e. give it to someone who will sell it and use the money). You could also give it to someone via a site such as Freecyle or Freegle.
    • You could give it to a friend or relative and tell them you no longer need it – this is beneficial as it promotes giving and sharing amongst friends.
    • You could give it to a friend or relative as a gift for their birthday or festive event – in this situation you have saved yourself and the environment the cost of buying something new.
  • Upcycle it! It may not be practical to continuously upcycle the centre of every toilet roll that comes into your house, however one off items such as an old and much loved t-shirt (could be turned into a cushion cover or stretched over a frame and made into wall art for example) or a broken mug (great for mosaic projects) may be prime candidates for upcycling.
  • Swap it! A while ago my friend gave me a whole load of her old clothes and I gave her a whole load of mine, we had gained/ lost weight in opposite directions and it worked out perfectly for us. Neither of us lost anything in monetary value and we both felt we had gained.
  • Recycle it! Even if your local council doesn’t recycle it, there may be an independent site nearby that does – worth having a look around.
    If there are no other options – landfill/ dispose of it safely! This particularly applies to items that could be dangerous such as plastic bags (supermarkets will take them), drugs (take them to your pharmacist) and batteries for example (again supermarkets will take them).
You may find that you can gain more value from something by upcycling, swapping or giving it as a gift than selling it.  In these cases for example you could make a donation to charity and may still be better off than if you gave the item directly to charity to sell.  You may also find that something you would usually put in the bin such as a punctured football could be mended or upcycled! It is definitely worth taking the time to think about what you will do with your stuff before getting rid of it.

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